Trans is hot.
It is a wild white heat in your heart, burning Eros that calls you to break the mould, cross the lines, break the boundaries to claim your own essential truth beyond norms and expectations.
This culture, though, is cool.
It expects a tame chill compliance, a frosty bearing, a kind of insulated sameness that follows the norms, does the expected and tolerates the demands with a icy countenance.
That contrast between fire and ice is where trans people — where all people — struggle with their essential duality, trying to both fit in nicely and stand out bravely at the same time.
Even the biggest hailstone which smashes down to earth starts as a speck of dust. It seeds into rain, but then that rain gets trapped in a freezing layer, bouncing up and down in the air as layers & layers of ice form, accretions of frozen water that isolate and harden it, growing in weight until it is big enough to crash through the updraft winds and plummet to the ground.
How many layers of ice do we carry around our hot, trans soul? How do they change our shape, limit our options and turn us into a hammer rather than being fluid?
We seem to become the iceberg, 9/10 hidden under the surface.
Many of us, though, know that that huge, hidden bit is where our mass, our drives and our baggage really lives, hidden away and hopefully frozen forever, out of sight and out of mind.
For most people, that submerged bit isn’t something that they think about. Their focus stays on what they can easily see. They just wonder, sometimes, why others are acting erratically, but they usually write whatever they don’t quickly understand down to laziness or stupidity. They respond by habit and emotion, following unconscious patterns rather than doing the work to be present and rational enough to look within.
They are not only responding to the shape of our ice, they are reacting with patterns frozen deep into their own ice, shaped and stored as defence long ago.
To own our own spark, that blazing light created in our heart, and to move past the habits which became solidified as we were bounced around in the atmosphere, we have to become aware, become expert at looking into the iceberg.
Once we are willing to look within, facing the fears we froze deeply into us, we also gain a new vision to look outside, seeing how others are engaged in the fight between their own imprisoned heat and the walls of ice built to contain that passion in a world that demands cool compliance.
The need to dig down into our own frozen habits to find, explore and expose our own essence makes us both powerful and scary. It leaves us trying to find ways to be cool to the touch while owning our own heat, since we learned early that it is our fire that sets other people off, bringing shit down upon our heads.
Owning my own fire while also being cold enough to be of service has always been by own bête noire. My deepest knowledge is that I live in a world where no one gets the joke, mirroring, understanding and affirming what I share.
This lead me to learning to manipulate others, first with tricks and later with honest, authentic techniques to create an area of agreement which helped them move forward.
The cost, though, to maintaining this cold façade, this deliberate and consciously modulated front has always been enormously high. It leaves me able to serve others by dint of will but unable to help myself, the cost being just too high. Mechanistic duty is functional, if costly, but personal salvation is beyond feasible, lost in a lifelong well of loneliness and grief.
When I feel my own issues welling up, I only have cerebral techniques to manage them, icy and dry, as in handling microbes stored in cryogenic hibernation. Allowing them to come back to life brings up the real possibility of drastic infestation beyond any possibility to lull them back down into a place of apparent chill functionality.
My heat was so early defined as shameful, queer, disgusting, incomprehensible and worth punishment that from my earliest memory I had to try and kill it, using ice to compartmentalize my own heart so that it would not lead others to attempt to destroy me.
I regularly thank my mother in the sky for the gifts of life, the divine surprises I have been given, even as I ask to be released from a place where I see the space for rational thought, deep compassion, and the intention of understanding to be more and more driven out by craven manipulation and self-indulgent blindness. My life becomes a pawn in their storytelling, sharpened to meet their political purposes by slicing away my beautiful nuance and ambiguity.
The official solution, I know, is to go cold again, frozen into a dogma that isolates and entombs my feelings so that I can fight without having my tender femme heart dragged into the public mêlée.
My journey, though, has been about finding my heart again, about owning it, no matter how battered, scarred and worn it may be. My own trans process is not about changing my clothes or my body but rather about changing my mind so that it melts around the beating truth of my heart.
This leaves me vulnerable in a world where silencing and erasing challenges is more valued than engaging the truth that others bring, where frozen is practical because hot is terrifying unless it is approved and enslaved.
I can only activate my own freezer compartment for short bursts now, after a lifetime of overworking it, and always at a high price.
I have a hot nature in a world that demands frozen cold brittle toughness.
And that, well, the cost of that thermal shock (2015) is just too high.